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[155] might be construed into an acknowledgment of its accuracy. I therefore deem it proper and necessary to notice it, and to disclaim all knowledge whatever of the alleged plot or conspiracy. My first knowledge of it, and, in fact, even of the names of Colonel T. A. Burr and Major C. H. Cole, is derived from the publication from which the above extract is taken.

The project of sending my command to meet Hunter's force, then supposed to be in the Valley, and, after that was disposed of, to make the advance on Washington, was adopted at a conference between President Davis and General Lee, late in the afternoon of the 12th of June, 1864, and I began the movement early on the morning of the 13th. On arriving at Charlottesville, I found that Hunter was advancing on Lynchburg, and it became necessary for me to meet him at that place. After his retreat, and my pursuit of him beyond Salem, General Lee, in a telegram, submitted it to my discretion whether I should make the advance on Washington, and this was repeated in a telegram to me after I reached Staunton; and I assumed the responsibility of continuing the movement. This does not look as if my movement was a part of a scheme for releasing the Confederates in northern prisons, and establishing a northwestern confederacy. In order to reach the vicinity of Washington, north of the Potomac, it was necessary for me to get rid of the Federal forces in the lower Valley and at Harper's Ferry, and after this was done I had to fight another force at Monocacy Junction. Notwithstanding these obstacles in the way of my advance, I reached the front of the defenses of Washington, on the north, on the 11th of July, after a march which, for its rapidity, was unequalled by any march made by any force on either side during the war, or as I believe by any army in any modern war. I did not delay my attack on Washington, for I made none; but finding the defenses of that city occupied by a force much superior to my own, and that the greater part of two corps of Grant's army had arrived about or a little before the time of my own arrival, I retired across the Potomac, in order to save my command from destruction, as Hunter had arrived at Harper's Ferry, in my rear, with a force much larger than my own. I may say here, as I have stated on several occasions, that it was not a part of General Lee's plan that I should make an attack on Washington, but his instructions were that I should threaten that city in order to draw troops away from Grant's army. When I suggested to him the idea of capturing Washington, he said very emphatically that it would be impossible to do so. After I reached Sharpsburg, on my route to Washington, I received a dispatch by a messenger from General Lee, informing

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Fitzhugh Lee (4)
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